Even Still, ClearChannel Blows
February 8, 2003 11:33 PM   Subscribe

Live CDs, immediately after the concert. Many times after I've seen a great show, I've wished I could have a recording of the evening. Now, using CD Burners hooked up to the sound boards, ClearChannel is beta testing a program that would make soundboard quality concert CD's available to audience members immediately after a show ended. I'm torn; it's a great idea, but it's ClearChannel... I want to like it... but I want to hate it, too...
posted by jonson (25 comments total)
Go ahead and like it. If they succeed it will serve to demonstrate a good way for bands to make money outside of the industry.
posted by ericost at 12:12 AM on February 9, 2003

It should be included in the ridiculously overpriced ticket.
posted by cinderful at 12:23 AM on February 9, 2003

I would support it. I'd rather pay $15 and get a soundboard copy right away, than having to wait for bootlegs to turn up.
posted by riffola at 12:50 AM on February 9, 2003

10 bucks says that it'll only be used on concerts for top 40 bands.

i know i don't want a fucking creed show in my collection, thanks.
posted by sunexplodes at 12:55 AM on February 9, 2003

There's certainly no reason the venues couldn't have a system like this and allow any act to use it, for a cut of the profits.
posted by kindall at 1:06 AM on February 9, 2003

As usual, prior art exists.
posted by hattifattener at 1:10 AM on February 9, 2003

Creating the board bootleg is trivial, but how do they plan to create enough copies "5 minutes" after the show? Even with banks of high-speed burners, meeting the potential demand would be difficult.

Of more concern is the quality of the recording. I'm a sound engineer by profession, and frequently roll DAT and CD at the board, and even with a separate console dedicated to recording the show, tracks almost always require some post-recording tweaks and fixes.

Is the idea as interesting if you were only able to buy a copy of last night's performance? Do you think you could tell the difference?
posted by johnnyace at 3:45 AM on February 9, 2003

how do they plan to create enough copies "5 minutes" after the show?
By not including the encore (or at least not that particular night's encore), engineers would have at least 30 minutes.
posted by mischief at 4:59 AM on February 9, 2003

Thats like sex without an orgasm, and nobody wants to pay for that.

They could mail them out the following day. Just swipe your cc on the way out.
posted by pekar wood at 5:45 AM on February 9, 2003

Support your local semi-official and defiantly illegit bootlegger.

Especially because you know that trading bootleg concert CDs sends money directly to Saddam Hussain's moustache-waxing fund.
posted by riviera at 5:56 AM on February 9, 2003

I'm inclined to say "Great Idea!" but before I do so I'd like to know how much of this $15 would end up in the artists pockets?

If it's anything like Courtney Love's RIAA / Recording Artist math, I think it will just put more cash in the wrong pockets.

Seems like the Artists should get a higher percentage than their standard recording contract might allow, since this would be a major impulse buy on the part of many concert goers - especially considering the effect of various substances and inhibitions.
posted by Mutant at 6:13 AM on February 9, 2003

Phish already does this. They're offering MP3 versions of all new shows for $9.95, and lossless SHN format versions for $12.95, IIRC. They'll also soon be releasing soundboard recordings of previous shows for the same price. Cha-cha-check it out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:17 AM on February 9, 2003

Pearl Jam is also doing something similar with their next string of concerts.
posted by zempf at 6:51 AM on February 9, 2003

I like the idea, and I don't doubt the practical problems can be solved, but I'm absolutely sure that ClearChannel will find a way to fuck both the bands and the fans on this deal.

My guess is that it'll play out like so: as someone pointed out, the quality of the raw recording from the board isn't that great; no doubt they won't even bother to tweak it, and charge a ridiculous price for it, thereby giving fans a shoddy recording and giving the band a black eye. Sales will be awful when people realize they're paying too much for a sucky recording. ClearChannel will claim sales are low due to piracy.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:55 AM on February 9, 2003

Civil_disobedient: a good link to Live Phish...
posted by bshort at 8:27 AM on February 9, 2003

continuing where RylandDotNet left off, the bands cut will be miniscule, and there will be ads for the local clear channel outlet(s) between tracks. by 5pm the next day, most of the marketing world will possess your concert-going data, and you'll begin to recieve spam, junk mail and telemarketing calls hawking everything from abba cd's to zig-zags.
posted by quonsar at 10:13 AM on February 9, 2003

Dutch singers Acda & de Munnik are actually doing something like this at their current tour: they record the first halve of the concert and burn 6 different cd's with two songs each, added to their current single. While typing this, I would say this is ripping of the fans, who will buy all six... Anyway, next week I'll have the change to see if it works. Regarding burning capacity: they only play shows for a few hundred people.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2003

Marillion are going to try and go one step better: a live DVD, the day after the gig.

I have one question about the original idea. A CD hold 77 minutes. All the best concerts I've been to are substantially longer than that. Are they going to release an edit, or 2 CDs?
posted by salmacis at 12:33 PM on February 9, 2003

The LivePhish shows come on three discs 'cause them damn hippie noodlers just keep playing and playing.
posted by muckster at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2003

There's a club here in Dallas which has the capability to record any and all performances at its place. The performance stage doubles as a recording studio. There may be others but I'm certain Club Dada can do it. Whether they actually do or not is unknown. Officially they only do if the artist pays them money. If they did record performers without their permission, that could cause them legal troubles and so IF they do that, a very select number of people know about it. It's doubtful they take the chance, but it's not impossible.

I got an album which was recorded this way once. It was engineered with a mutual understanding between the venue and the band, and the result was clean. It's one of my favorite albums in my collection, and I collect a lot of stuff from local artists here in north Texas.

What concerns me here is that a large corporate monolith is claiming to do this NOW. The album I'm referring to was recorded years ago. Clear Channel will probably try to corner the market on this, but I find it much more successful when 'happenings' are captured with full cooperation of the band, and that band gets a large percentage of the profits. I seriously doubt that's what's gonna happen with CC. They contract the bands in such a way as to limit the artists' claim on their own creative efforts. They use legalese to take the lion's share of the profits. I suppose those who are most popular and successful in signing on the CC dotted line have little to complain about. CC will keep their ability to record live performances to only a percentage of the artists under their thumb. This is not an answer to the dilemma. It's a PR attempt to show people that the corporate interests regarding the music industry have everything under control.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:28 PM on February 9, 2003

I've just finished gathering a concert I attended back in 1999 onto my computer. It took around 8 hours of work (some of it downtime) to scour the internet to find somebody who was offering it, download it, learn what shn files are, find a decompressor, learn how to use Windows Media Encoder, and go through the work of making my compilation.

Needless to say, I would have rather payed 8 bucks for somebody to hand me a 2 disc set of the concert and had more money end up in the band's pocket.
posted by askheaves at 3:50 PM on February 9, 2003

salmacis: wow, marillion are still around? never really liked them (I think you have to be swiss osj), but I did go to see an excellent show that fish put on a few years ago in manhattan. he's right up there with rollins.

(and he had with him some utterly amazing singer friend from london at the time, but of course I've completely forgotten her name)
posted by dorian at 9:17 PM on February 9, 2003

I agree with ZachsMind that live recordings have a vitality that is simply unmatched by studio tracks. In my youth I rolled a lot of cassette tape while learning the ropes behind the soundboard, and even with their embarrassing imperfections, a few of those recordings remain favorites.

These days I record all my live mixes (even those I'm not supposed to), and with a little digital post-processing I'm able to get results that would have been unimaginable ten years ago. As digital recording and mixdown continues to drop in price and penetrate the trenches, I expect quality post-show board bootlegs to become more commonplace.

The limiting factor at this point seems to be the distribution format; you can only burn pits into a spinning disc but so fast. Imagine a high-capacity (several hundred gig) solid-state memory stick or similar device that you could plug into a kiosk and quickly download a fully produced recording of your experience. As bandwidth and processing power increases, video could be added.

What I really want, though, is a multitrack end-user format so that I can mute the vocals when I'm in the mood, but admittedly that's a feature only sound guys would probably be interested in.
posted by johnnyace at 5:05 AM on February 10, 2003

There was a singer/songwriter guy on NPR the other day who does this. He has a short break after an hour (which if you ask me, is a good idea anyway), during which time, they "change the tape" (he didn't say, but I guess it's all done straight to hard drive), and start burning the first set. You had to wait for a bit after the show for the second half.

I can't say I'm surprised that CC are doing this. The demand is pretty obvious, they can negotiate the rights as part of the tour deal, it's a win win win scenario. Sure the sound desk quality isn't going to be as good as a live album that's been mixed and re-dubbed in the studio, but it's an infinitely more honest representation of the gig that you've just been to. Man, I would've killed for these when I was still going to see bands.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:12 AM on February 10, 2003

i get the feeling that clear channel might just predetermined the tracklisting, prerecorded the "local" remarks made by to the crowd and premastered the cds before hand...
posted by mutantdisco! at 11:55 AM on February 10, 2003

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